Sunday, March 17, 2013

American Girls

So, I've been bitten by the American Girl bug.  I was just a little bit too old to have experienced American Girl dolls as a child.  Their first dolls came out in 1986, which was the year I got my last baby doll for Christmas.  I've known about the dolls for some time, but never had any experience with them until last December (3 months ago).  In December, a friend whose daughters have AG dolls, and who herself buys Ebay and Craigslist AG lots to fix up and resell (at quite a profit!) tipped me off that there was a sale going on, for one day, on the two historical American Girls whose stories are set in mid-19th century New Orleans.  I have always loved dolls, I love our city, and I figured that if I could get one of the NOLA girls for half of the regular $110 price, that was an offer I couldn't refuse.  I already had my Christmas shopping complete, but I bought Marie-Grace and figured I'd stash her for Hazel's 5th birthday coming up in June.  She arrived, I ooohed and aaahed over her, pulled out her book and read it, but kept her hidden away.

Two weeks later, we went on our Christmas trip to see my family in Texas.  I had been to my step-brother Mike and his wife Anne's house several times, but had never paid any attention to their daughters' collection of American Girls before now.  My nieces have six dolls between them and I spent one whole day "watching the little kids in the playroom", but really playing with dolls.  They are so fantastic!  I started to see the differences in their little faces, and enjoyed dressing them and styling their hair.  Marie-Grace had not grabbed me, but some of Corinne and Colleen's dolls did.  I loved Kanani and Emily.  Nellie was cute.  Ivy, Julie, and Elizabeth didn't do much for me.  They all seemed to have their own little personalities.  I was still thrilled about giving Hazel Marie-Grace, but I wanted one of my own so that I could play, too. Ha!

So I did it. At 35 years old, I bought myself a doll.  I spent some of my Christmas money on Jess, the retired Girl of the Year from 2006.  Of all the dolls I had seen pictures of, Jess was the one I found the sweetest. So, there you go.  I have an American Girl.  Hazel and Charlie play with her all the time.  She's well loved by the whole family, but I'm the only one who gets to do her hair. LOL

Of course, half the fun of having 18" dolls around is all of the sewing and yarn crafting opportunity!  I immediately started pinning some tutorials and ideas on pinterest.  I picked up some patterns at Joanns.  And here are the outfits I've sewn so far:

The first was upcycled from an outgrown outfit of Hazel's.  This tank showed me really fast that I needed to work on my sewing-with-knits skills.  After reading a thousand online tutorials and gathering some better supplies, my next attempt was much, much better.

This little skirt and tshirt came out well, I thought!  The tshirt let me practice my new knit strategies, with my better results.  

Here's Marie-Grace, out of her box briefly, to try on some pajamas that will be hers.  My Jess came with pjs, so naturally, all of our dolls will need them. ;) I stashed these pjs to come back down when she makes her appearance.  The other clothes we've made are in the basket with Jess's clothes, and will be shared when Hazel gets her doll.

I'm in quite the hurry for Marie-Grace to come play, too.  During Mardi Gras, I started reading aloud the book series for Marie-Grace and Cecile with Hazel.  We are thoroughly enjoying their stories, being that they're set here in New Orleans.  Even in the mid-1850s, the girls go to familiar places (Jackson Square, the French Market) and do familiar things (eat pralines, celebrate Mardi Gras).  I am toying with the idea of giving Hazel her dolly when we get to the end of the book series instead of waiting for her birthday.  That would free up her birthday to give an accessory that would be well loved, like Marie-Grace's dog, Argos.  Hazel does always love animals more than dolls anyway.  We'll see how fast we get them read!  

So yeah, totally bitten by the AG bug.  Make fun of me all you want.  I'll just go sit in the corner and sew a new dress for my doll.  

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